Volunteers all over the country worked to put a number on America's homeless this week.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development uses the data to determine how to fund states' homeless programs.
Federal money from this year's annual homeless count could mean more than ever for Bell County.
A shortage of shelters means many have nowhere to rest their heads or their belongings.
Hurricane Katrina transplant Rhys Tudor says finding work with a backpack on and no way to shower is next to impossible.
"People just don't want to hire somebody like that, because I guess they think they're transient or unreliable or they wouldn't be reduced to that level," Tudor said.
Some are looking to the count to help change that.
Sue Hamby was in charge of the effort in East Bell County
She hopes the data will attract federal aid, getting construction of the Salvation Army's 100 bed facility up and running, after Martha's Kitchen closed its doors a few months ago.
"That's how we get money back in our community. Last year, I think our state got 19 million dollars for the homeless program, and I'm wanting some of that money to come to Bell County," Hamby said.
She's still waiting on numbers from a few area shelters for the annual numbers, but counts about 120 every day at the Feeding My Sheep kitchen.
"It helps us in writing grants. When I write grants and things like that, I can tell them how many, the age, if they're veterans, and it gets us to know the needs of the homeless population," Hamby said.
Perhaps the greatest need of all this winter -- a warm place to take cover.
"It's needed. It won't work without it. These people need a chance," Rhys said.
So far the Salvation Army has raised 3 million dollars to build the new Center of Hope shelter.
One million more is needed in order to break ground.
Reporter/Photographer: Sophia Stamas firstname.lastname@example.org